Thursday, May 14, 2009

"This I command you: love one another."

Issue Date: May 17, 2009
Sixth Sunday of Easter (Easter6B)

BURNING QUESTION: Who is your neighbor?
FEATURED BLOG: Catholic Mass vs. Protestant services
VOCATION NEWS: "I'm praying for you to be a priest"
PASTORAL HISPANA: El amor no tiene fronteras

Dear Friends,

People think that Catholicism is simply a denomination of Christianity, a particular type or brand to choose from. But, in fact – it means the exact opposite! Find out the true nature and business of the Catholic Church as describe by this Sunday’s Readings. And it's all about love. And do use our Discussion Questions this week to inspire your bible study sessions with your family, friends or church groups.

JESUS LOVES US. Fr. John Foley, SJ explains that this Sunday's Readings are all about respectful love. God chooses to love each one of us with his Spiritual presence in us, and hope we will accept. We are always to trust this life-giving love of Jesus, Fr. Demetrius R. Dumm reminds us. It is a relationship we have with our Lord that comes in all forms - mental and material, invisible and visible, spiritual and physical. Fr. Phil Bloom explains it.

Fr. Thomas Rosica adds that we are not useless servants but friends! The Lord calls us friends; he makes us his friends; he gives us his friendship. And While 100% genuine, authentic love can only come from God, Father Cusick makes it clear that the commandments are with us to keep us from falling for the counterfeits that often pass for love in our world. In the love of Jesus, our souls mingle with God’s own Spirit and we become new flesh for the incarnate God. This is called the mystical body of Christ on earth.

LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen says everyone can do this - love one another - because God created us to love, He created us so that we might all love each other with only one heart, one soul. When we see how Jesus loves, Abbot Philip Lawrence preaches that then we can understand how we are to love. But Fr. Orly Sapuay, MS warns that the main concern in today’s readings is the fact that “love” is a word that can be cheapened by overuse and abuse.

Fr. Joseph Pelligrino asks us to reflect whether this love of God is evident in our own family structures where we have set guidelines so that our family members can grow and develop. And knowing well that genuine love, real authentic love, must by definition be an entirely free choice, Fr. Alex McAllister wonders aloud how one can be commanded to love?

THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND BEING CATHOLIC. Marcellino D'Ambrosio declares that "Catholicism is Love Unlimited." And that one of the meanings of the word “Catholic” is that it is “universal,” intended to reach and include people from all nations. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput of Denver delivers another incisive speech about "The New Life in Christ: What it Looks Like, What it Demands." The Catholic faith is not simply a collection of doctrines and ideas. It is a life-changing, personal experience of the risen Jesus Christ. B

ORED WITH SUNDAY MASS? You will be awakened by this brilliant dissertation by Fr. Edward McNamara on the real meaning of Mass and how it compares to the "more vibrant" Protestant services. And if you seem to see a lot of older people in church, a new Pew Research validates your observation. Older people do pray more - while 48 percent of American's age 18-29 pray daily, 68 percent of those 65 and older do so.

THE POPE IN THE HOLY LAND. Pope Benedict continues his Holy Land prilgrimage with universal messages of love to all. During a Mass in the Valley of Josaphat, he delivered a homily that reminded the world that Jerusalem is the place "Where Life Conquered Death." He also spent time at the Prayer Wall where he left this written prayer for God's people: "hear the cry of the afflicted, the fearful, the bereft; send your peace upon this Holy Land, upon the Middle East, upon the entire human family." And in an address at the Dome of the Rock, he reminded upon Christians, Jews and Muslims alike about "The Reality of the One God." It is paramount, he said, that those who adore the One God should show themselves to be both grounded in and directed towards the unity of the entire human family.

THE SANCTITY OF LIFE. A few months back, the Pope received a lot of flak from the secular media when he declared that abstinence, not condoms, is more effective in the fight against AIDS. Well, a Catholic doctors group just released a study backing up the Pope. In cyberspace, An unnamed 12 year-old girl has become a video hit on YouTube because of the simplicity and eloquence with which she explains the tragedy of abortion. Not unexpectedly, she has become the target of some of the most vitriolic personal attacks on her views. This young girl epitomizes the message of the Pope to young people last week. He invited kids as young as 8 years old to "enthusiastically speak about Jesus" so as to bring the light of the Gospel to those who do not know him.

THE CHALLENGES OF THE ECONOMY. Times are tough for businesses and families alike. The president of Caritas International reflected on the attitudes that the Virgin Mary taught at Fatima, saying these could very well be the antidote we need for our economic crisis. Plus, we bring you "the top 50 money-saving tips" collected by the AARP from its members. It's got some down-to-earth pointers that can really save you hard cash each month.

STORIES OF HOPE. Bo Sanchez delivers another inspiring piece that teaches you "How To Climb Your Mountains And Live With Great Abundance." While an unrelated piece talks about "The Problem With Porn." You can find it pretty much anywhere you look. On TV, at your local bookstore, and especially on the internet. But what effect does it really have on people? We have the answer.

ANGELS AND DEMONS. It opens today and the buzz is everywhere. Many Christian writers have attacked it as anti-Catholic, many without even having seen the movie. Sr. Rose Pacatte, FSP echoes the sentiment of the Vatican'movie review with her own stirring opinion. Her take: "Alas, I am sorry to be a killjoy but audiences just may be inspired by this movie. I know I was."

Another eventful day in our Catholic world. Have a great and blessed new week.

Keep the Faith. Peace.

Wally Arida
Publisher & Editor in chief

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